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Online gaming industry faces clean-up
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-01-17 10:29
Online gaming companies are set to face tougher regulations, after authorities said yesterday they will take more measures to crack down on the undesirable aspects of the industry.

"In the next five years, China's online gaming industry will reach a turning point where 'green' games will be appreciated and encouraged," Kou Xiaowei, deputy director of the audio-visual and Internet publication department of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), said at the annual online gaming industry forum held in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

Kou said the GAPP will release more requirements for domestic online gaming companies, some of whose games encourage killing and gambling in a bid to attract users and boost profits.

"Although China's online gaming industry has been hot in recent years, online games are regarded by many as a sort of spiritual opium and the whole industry is still marginalized by mainstream society," Kou said.

"If we don't make adjustments, the industry will suffer sooner or later."

According to a report by research firm IDC and the China Publishers Association, the number of online gamers reached more than 40 million at the end of last year, up 23 percent on 2006.

The online gaming market grew 61.5 percent to 10.6 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) last year, with four companies including Perfect World and Giant Interactive listing on the stock market.

Media reports about students becoming obsessed with online role-playing games as well as fatal fires in some Internet cafes led to the release of a policy last year demanding online game operators discourage all players aged under 18.

However, Liu Bin, chief analyst of research firm BDA China, said online gaming companies will not be greatly affected by the tighter regulations.

"I don't think the GAPP will introduce policies such as banning gaming companies from setting up gambling systems in their games in the short term, because it is hard to identify the wrongdoers among hundreds of games," he said.

Source:China Daily 
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